Wells Fargo closures to have ‘minimal’ impact on Southern Nevada jobs

Loomis armored bank truck is parked outside a Wells Fargo branch at 1121 Las Vegas Blvd South on Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018, in Las Vegas. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye) Customers enter a Wells Fargo branch at 1121 Las Vegas Blvd South on Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018, in Las Vegas. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye) Customers enter a Wells Fargo branch at 1121 Las Vegas Blvd South on Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018, in Las Vegas. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye) Customers enter and exit a Wells Fargo branch at 1121 Las Vegas Blvd South on Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018, in Las Vegas. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye) Wells Fargo & Co.’s plans to cut nearly one in seven U.S. branches by 2020 will have a limited impact on its presence in the Southern Nevada region, a local bank official said Wednesday. The region’s rapidly growing economy is creating greater demand for consumer credit and small business loans, said Brian Formisano, the lender’s region president for Southern Nevada overseeing community banking. The San Francisco-based bank may close several of its existing 74 Southern Nevada branches as part of the 2020 strategy, but new ones could be opened in under-served regions, offsetting the total decline, he said. “Our branch count could reduce, but if we do go forward, it will have an extremely minimal impact to our network. There are several areas of this town that call for branch growth,” Formisano said Tuesday. Largest Network The third-largest U.S. lender by assets plans to reduce its branch network to 5,000 from 5,800 over the next three years as more clients shift towards online banking, Wells Fargo executives said Friday during a year-end earning’s call. Branch closures are an industry-wide trend and Wells Fargo is the most impacted because it has the largest U.S. network, said Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Continue Reading

Licensed marijuana businesses operate in the shadows without access to banks

Sometime next year, the most populous state in the nation will let licensed recreational pot sellers start cashing in on a multibillion-dollar industry.But even though California voters approved these businesses in passing Proposition 64 in November, a major unresolved issue remains that will force a large portion of the state’s legal cannabis community to continue to operate in the shadows: banking.Because marijuana is still illegal under federal law, it is also illegal for banks to work with any marijuana-related businesses.While the Obama administration in 2014 issued stringent guidelines that allow banks to serve marijuana-related businesses that are following state laws, most banks have not been willing to risk the lingering threat of criminal prosecution or to spend the resources it takes to comply with the extra rules.“Bankers have said that in the current environment, with the enforcement and examiners looking at everything bankers are doing, they aren’t really predisposed to take on anything risky,” said Rob Rowe, vice president and associate chief counsel of regulatory compliance for the American Bankers Association. “And banking a marijuana business is risky.”The medical marijuana industry has grappled with this for years in California and elsewhere. Now, entrepreneurs and conglomerates going after a slice of lucrative recreational pot sales will have to confront the banking challenge.If you can’t keep your money in the bank, where do you put it? And how do you pay operating expenses, if you can’t write a check?No banking access means paying employees, bills and taxes in cash. It means no credit or debit card payments from clients. No small business loans or real estate mortgages. No services from mainstream armored car companies that also contract with the federal government. No official records to build credit or establish a financial identity.And it means a lot of cash — cash Continue Reading

Elderly felon who ‘used to rob banks’ busted by cops after pulling $3,000 heist in Reno at age 76

Apparently he was not ready to retire. A 76-year-old felon who "used to rob banks" is up to his old tricks again after authorities arrested him for pulling off another heist. Tommy Ray McAdoo made off with $2,731 in a paper grocery sack last week from a Reno bank that just happens to be across the street from the courthouse where he's slated to appear on Thursday. Following the robbery, McAdoo was found eating lunch at a nearby casino. When asked what he did for a living, he replied "I used to rob banks," according to a criminal complaint. McAdoo has been convicted of at least five different bank robberies going all the way back to 1964. Most recently, he pleaded guilty to a Seattle holdup in 1990 and was serving a 15-year-prison sentence in Indiana when he assaulted another inmate in 2001. He was released on probation in 2008. A federal judge in Seattle agreed to cut his supervision short three years later after a public defender argued McAdoo had stayed out of trouble for more than two years, and at 71, was "at an age where he poses a significantly reduced risk the community." McAdoo, who recently moved into a homeless shelter because he couldn't afford to pay his monthly rent, walked into the Nevada State Bank on Nov. 9 with a knife and a note demanding money, according to an FBI affidavit. The teller said she was scared because "he was repeatedly tapping the knife on the teller counter in front of her." She alertly slipped four "bait bills" with registered serial numbers and an electronic tracker into the loot, according to the complaint. FBI agents later found a $100 bill wrapper in a restroom toilet inside the Club Cal Neva and found McAdoo eating lunch. It's not clear when he moved to Reno, but McAdoo had registered as a sex offender at an address at an apartment on the edge of downtown. McAdoo eventually confessed his role in the robbery, according to the complaint, and was ordered held Continue Reading

Knife-wielding 69-year-old ex-con botches bank robbery one day after completing 22-year sentence

A 69-year-old desperado, fresh out of prison after serving 22 years for bank robbery, tried to hold up one of midtown's busiest banks on Thursday - with a knife. John Stolarz had been a free man for only one day. The ex-con was shot in the leg by cops and ended up at Bellevue Hospital, almost certainly looking at a new stretch of prison time. No one else was hurt. Stolarz, convicted of holding up a string of banks in Louisiana, Nevada, Washington State and Utah - including two on the same day in Salt Lake City on May 2, 1988 - was released from a federal prison in Fairton, N.J., on Wednesday. He was supposed to go to a half-way house, officials said, but instead he made his way to Manhattan to try a spectacularly stupid heist. Police said the would-be stickup man entered the Chase branch at 2 Penn Plaza, near Madison Square Garden, just after 12:30 p.m. Waving a 10-inch steak knife, he demanded cash from a clerk at the customer service desk. The hitch: there is no money at the customer service desk. "He demands fifties and hundreds. She says 'We don't have any money here.' He just repeats it... fifties and hundreds," said NYPD chief spokesman Paul Browne. When an assistant bank manager strolled over to see what the fuss was, Stolarz walked out into the street, cops said. The bank's manager went after him, spotted a patrol car parked on Seventh Ave. and alerted the cops just as Stolarz walked into Penn Station at 32nd St. 'Shocking' and 'scary' The two officers - who were part of a routine anti-terror "surge" - followed Stolarz into the train station, watching as he walked through the crowds of shoppers and commuters holding the knife inconspicuously by his side. "Drop the knife!" one cop yelled. Instead, Stolarz ran off onto an escalator to 31st St.He was soon cornered near an Amtrak loading dock on W. 31st St. between Seventh and Eighth Aves.Stolarz refused a second order to drop the knife. Officer Edgar Perez, one of the two cops Continue Reading

Bank of America halts foreclosure sales in 50 states

Potential flaws in foreclosure documents are threatening to throw the real estate industry into a full-blown crisis, as Bank of America on Friday became the first bank to stop sales of foreclosed homes in all 50 states.PNC Financial Services Inc., adds to growing concerns that mortgage lenders have been evicting homeowners using flawed court papers.Charlotte, N.C.-based Bank of America Corp., the nation's largest bank, said Friday it would stop sales of foreclosed homes in all 50 states as it reviews documents used to process foreclosures. A week earlier, the company had said it would only stop such sales in the 23 states where foreclosures must be approved by a judge.Dan Frahm said in a statement. "Our ongoing assessment shows the basis for our past foreclosure decisions is accurate."Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn, the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, said he would hold a hearing on the issue next month.Associated Press showed a Bank of America official acknowledging in a legal proceeding that she signed thousands of foreclosure documents a month and typically didn't read them. The official, Renee Hertzler, said in a February deposition that she signed 7,000 to 8,000 foreclosure documents a month.Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., urged five large mortgage lenders to suspend foreclosures in Nevada until they have set up systems to make sure homeowners aren't "improperly directed into foreclosure proceedings." Nevada is not among the states where banks had suspended foreclosures.Pittsburgh-based bank confirmed the decision on Friday, which was reported earlier by the New York Times. The official requested anonymity because the decision hasn't been publicly announced.U.S. lender to halt some foreclosures amid evidence that mortgage company employees or their lawyers signed documents in foreclosure cases without verifying the information in them.Ally Financial's GMAC Mortgage unit and JPMorgan Chase & Co. have announced similar moves in the past two Continue Reading

Daniel James Murray, ‘Cape Man’ who threatened to kill Obama at Utah bank, arrested at Nevada casino

Luck ran out for a gun-loving loon who threatened to kill President Obama.Daniel James Murray, 36, was arrested at a casino in Laughlin, Nev., on Friday, ending a nationwide manhunt. Murray found himself in the cross hairs of federal authorities after he told a Utah bank manager last month he was "on a mission to kill" Obama. The upstate New York native, who owns at least eight guns, waltzed into Zions First National Bank in St. George on May 27 to withdraw $12,698 from his savings account, according to a criminal complaint. He didn't have proper ID, and issued a frightening ultimatum when a bank employee asked him to produce it. "Not to be disrespectful, but if I don't get this money, someone is going to die," Murray said, according to the complaint. After receiving his money, Murray added: "We are on a mission to kill the President of the United States," the complaint says. The former Saratoga County man was believed to have been heading east in a 2001 Buick LeSabre with New York plates. Residents in Rexford used to call Murray the "Cape Man" - a moniker he earned by walking through his former neighborhood wearing a black cape and muttering to himself. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Nevada lawmakers angry at President Obama’s ‘don’t blow a bunch of cash on Vegas’ comment

LAS VEGAS - Lawmakers in the state of Nevada lashed out at President Obama on Tuesday after he made another reference to Las Vegas while explaining how people should make tough choices on spending. The issue is sensitive to Las Vegas because its economy is largely based on tourism, and several lawmakers said they were shocked that Obama singled out Las Vegas again after commenting one year ago about bailed-out banks holding meetings here. "When times are tough, you tighten your belts," Obama said, according to a White House transcript of his appearance Tuesday at a high school in North Nashua, New Hampshire. "You don't go buying a boat when you can barely pay your mortgage," Obama said. "You don't blow a bunch of cash on Vegas when you're trying to save for college. You prioritize. You make tough choices." The comments quickly sparked a flurry of reaction from federal, state and local lawmakers in Nevada, which had an unemployment rate of 13 percent in December. "I'll do everything I can to give him the boot," Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman said during a hastily called news conference, adding that he was incensed when he heard about the comments and said he would no longer welcome the president here if he visits. "This president is a real slow learner," said Goodman, who is not affiliated with a political party. "Enough is enough!" Democratic Congresswoman Shelley Berkley said in a statement. "President Obama needs to stop picking on Las Vegas and he needs to let Americans decide for themselves how and where to spend their hard earned vacation dollars." Nevada's economy has been hit hard with foreclosures, unemployment and bankruptcies during the past two years as consumers everywhere tighten leisure spending and companies spend less on meetings and conventions. Harry Reid, the Democratic Senate majority leader and one of Obama's closest allies, issued a statement headlined "Reid to Obama: 'Lay off Las Vegas,'" and was unusually blunt in his Continue Reading

Fired in Montana, N.Y. miner hopes to strike gold in Nevada

He was laid off in New York, let go in Montana. Now unemployed miner Sam Gallup, fired after a single shift at his last job, hopes he won't get the shaft in Nevada.Gallup, who drove 2,000 miles to the job that disappeared in one day this week, was meeting Friday with a company recruiting workers for its gold mine in the Silver State. "I'm going to see what they have to offer," said Gallup, 24. "I honestly hope it's not going to be a repeat of what happened." RELATED: A 2,000 MILE DRIVE TO GET FIRED ON DAY 1Gallup planned a 40-minute drive to tiny Columbus, Mont. - population 1,748 - to hear the job pitch just four days after the Stillwater Mining Co. canned him. Whether his job prospects pan out, Gallup received some good news yesterday. A pair of Daily News readers sent along $400 to boost his spirits and his bank account. "I told him we need more driven Americans like him," said one of the donors. "He thanked me numerous times and all I asked of him was for me to remain anonymous." Gallup was laid off in August from his mining job in upstate New York - but landed a job with Stillwater and moved to Billings, Mont. He drove west for three days before starting work on Monday. His debut 10-hour shift ended with a voice mail delivering word of his pink slip. The company, which runs a pair of mines in southern Montana, laid off nearly one-third of its workforce. Gallup, who ran through most of his savings just making the trip to Montana, won't even collect his one-day paycheck until Dec. 1. Gallup was suddenly broke, a long way from home, and living in a friend's finished basement. He remains optimistic. "I'm willing to accept anything to get me on my feet," said the one-time resident of upstate Gouverneur, near the Canadian border. "Things are gonna pick up." His spirits were further lifted by a phone call from his fiancée and her son. He hopes to bring them west once he lands a steady job. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Barack Obama, Joe Biden look to get out the vote in ‘Red States’

For Barack Obama, the White House race is no longer about conquering new battlegrounds - it's about securing the ones he's winning. The Democrat will spend the last days of the campaign in a handful of traditionally red states where Republican John McCain is on the ropes, senior Obama aides told the Daily News. "We're going to the states where we are ahead, and we're going to lock those states in," said one top adviser, referring to polls that show Obama tied or ahead in a dozen or so major battlegrounds. It's an itinerary that will take Obama and his running mate, Joe Biden, to Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida and Pennsylvania - a traditionally blue state where McCain is mounting a last-ditch offensive. Obama is also likely to make a swing out West, where battlegrounds include Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada, while keeping an eye on Midwestern tossups like Indiana and Missouri as well. Republican George W. Bush won nine of those 10 states in 2004, reflecting just how much of this year's race has ended up on Republican turf. For McCain and running mate Sarah Palin, the last week will include many of the same stops. Their travel log will include Florida, Indiana, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia, aides said. It's clearly a rearguard action for the GOP team. "This year, there is no breathing room for Republicans anywhere," said Steffen Schmidt, a political science professor at Iowa State University. "It's the end of eight years during which almost nothing has gone right, and people feel like they're falling off a cliff economically just as the election hits," added Schmidt. "For Republicans, it's catastrophic." Often, candidates return to their bases at the end of a campaign, making sure to rally troops in their most loyal precincts. But Democrats insisted they weren't being cocky, just cautious, in targeting mostly Republican swing areas. "To paraphrase [bank robber] Willie Sutton, we'll go where the voters Continue Reading

Charles Ramos in no state to rule on Citigroup, Wells Fargo and Wachovia

It is an understatement to say that the stakes are astronomical in the battle between Citigroup and Wells Fargo for control of Wachovia bank. The fight involves billions of dollars and is the latest front in the U.S. effort to keep banks from going under.Predictably, the tug of war ended up in court - where depositors, shareholders, employees and taxpayers deserved the highest level of judicial attention. But that's not what they got - not even close. While the whole world was watching, the New York State courts, in the person of Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Charles Ramos, conducted half-baked proceedings and issued a back-of-the-envelope ruling that was summarily tossed within 24 hours. Ramos should be embarrassed - as should the judges who are responsible for making sure that the city's courts, particularly those in Manhattan, are prepared to handle major commercial disputes. The background is that Citigroup, working with the federal government, thought it had reached a deal to acquire Wachovia. But on Friday, Wells Fargo and Wachovia announced that they had struck a different takeover arrangement. Claiming breach of contract under New York law, Citigroup rushed on Saturday to seek a court order barring Wells Fargo and Wachovia from consummating their deal until a judge sorted out the issues. But New York's courts are closed on Saturdays - and they don't keep a commercial judge on call. That left the lawyers to find one on their own. They came up with Ramos, tracking him down at at his home in Cornwall, Conn. (By the description in The New York Times, the house is a stately white Georgian place, unlike the address from which Ramos votes in upper Manhattan.) Now, things got sloppy. Ramos had only the lawyers from one side before him. He got other attorneys on the telephone. But Ramos' house wasn't equipped to run a conference call. He had to talk with one lawyer, relay what was said and relay a response, and so on. There was no court reporter to record what was Continue Reading